Summary: Workshops can be essential in driving organizational change. Whether you’re gathering in a traditional, remote or hybrid capacity, a proper Workshop can be used to educate, learn, or create a shared understanding. For instance, Workshops can be used for learning a new skill, teambuilding, project planning and developing new strategies.
A successful workshop is far more than an exchange of information – it can empower individuals and teams in potent ways. A bad workshop, on the other hand, often creates the opposite effect, compounding any tendency for disengagement, low morale, decreased output or alack of self-direction. And with the exciting emergence of hybrid work teams where participants may be joining remotely, it’s even more crucial to develop cohesive strategies.
Here are 7 tips for conducting a successful workshop:
1. Why are we here? Set objectives, deliverables and ground rules.
From the beginning of the meeting, set proper expectations for what will be achieved during the workshop session. Define the purpose of the workshop and what each participant can potentially gain from the effort. Set ground rules for participation, specifying who will contribute and how the workshop will progress.
2. Invite the right people. Don’t waste anyone’s time. Invite only individuals who need to be in the workshop, those who will either contribute or gain value from participation. Every team member’s time is precious, so selectively choose stakeholders bearing in mind the particular workshop topic.
3. Allow no distractions. Provide a check-in process, either in person or online, for participants to deliberately “land” in the meeting. This solidifies the time commitment and discourages distractions from anything outside the workshop bubble. The focus is “here and now.” Multi-tasking is tempting, particularly for remote participants, so consider a mandatory, visible video presence. This also personalizes the workshop effort and builds team trust.
4. Everyone has a voice. Engagement is the ultimate key to workshop success. Every person must have a voice, so supply tools that enable equal access for local and remote users. Encourage everyone, even shy or ordinarily reserved members, to contribute. Each individual brings unique talents, ideas and perspectives to the table, so give them a voice. You also need to have a capable online whiteboarding tools to allow everyone to share their ideas whether they are in the room or remote.
5. Make it fun. This doesn’t mean trying out your secret comedian talents –it can be as simple as setting a relaxed, positive tone with an inspirational outlook. The quickest way to tank a workshop is to make it boring. Put some forethought into the approach: How can you make this the most interesting and enjoyable learning experience of the day, the month or the year?
6. Stay flexible. Set aside sufficient time for the workshop to organically evolve under its own steam. This may take more time than originally anticipated. Structure and timelines are important, but so are burgeoning discussions and emerging ideas. Allow time for full engagement and for even the softest voices to be heard.
7. Follow up. So, the workshop is over…now what? Establish a method for measuring effectiveness, and then move forward in decisive ways. What kind of post-workshop activities can capitalize on new momentum and energy?
Online whiteboards are highly instrumental in Workshop sessions. With the emerging hybrid way of working, collaboration whiteboards such as the FlatFrog Board are becoming indispensable. Online whiteboards allow remote and physically present team members to participate on equal terms, viewing the same digital whiteboard. And a large interactive whiteboard in the meeting room provides an appealing physical presence while also improving hybrid whiteboard interaction between onsite and remote team members.
FlatFrog is a provider of free online browser-based whiteboards(flatfrogboard.com).
FlatFrog has also designed patented InGlass™ touch display technology from the ground up, providing the best pen and touch input to mimic the intuitive feeling of a dry-erase board. InGlass™ touch displays are available through our partners, including Dell, Google, Samsung, SMART, Sharp, Ricoh, Avocor, CTOUCH and more (www.flatfrog.com/partners).